The Power of the Haitian Diaspora

Haiti needs help from the most powerful source of financial resources, its Diaspora.

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The Diaspora, dispersed throughout many countries, has the largest population living in the U.S., at 2.5 million plus residents. Its remittances to Haitian families, most of whom are desperately poor, totals up to around one billion annually, 25% of Haiti's gross domestic product (GDP). To give an idea of the significance of remittances, they exceed the GDP's annual foreign direct investment and export revenue.

The Diaspora is flush with not only huge cash reserves, but with potential investors, business partners, and innovators. The educated class of the Diaspora includes people with advanced degrees in law, education, medicine, science, and information technology, as well as business. Their brain trust is powerful and multi-faceted.

The Diaspora, with its wealth, business, and intellectual capacities, can play a major role in Haiti's rise up the economic index. Opportunities to partner with private and public institutions are plentiful. Already the U.S.'s LEAD Investment initiative is tapping into the Diaspora's investment potential to develop small- and mid-size enterprises, the spine of Haiti's faltering economy.

Recently the Haitian Diaspora Federation held a conference to make known the economic needs and investment opportunities available in Haiti's recovery efforts. The federation's goal is to map out a strategy for developing entrepreneurship, and give it tools for optimizing its growth potential while remaining viable.

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